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Growing up as a child there has always been a realm of imagination concerning the future. Seeing it on TV, moreover in movies, the future became attractive and inviting. It was even more exciting when we could see the machines of the future people would have to work with. This movie, " Forbidden Planet " was such an inspiration to young minds it became a classic in it's own right. The story is taken from Shakespeare's 'the Tempest', but to youngsters, we saw little resemblance. Nevertheless, once you're on board the spacecraft heading towards Altair Six, you forget the play and concentrate on Robbie The Robot and the dangers of the planet. The crew is commanded by none other than Commander J. Adams (Leslie Stevens), Warren Stevens who plays 'Doc' Ostrow M.D.' Jack Kelly is the hormone driven Lt. Jerry Farman with Richard Anderson as Chief Quinn. The first time I saw the film I was visually impressed. In later years, I came to ask the question, if this is the future and space travel has been accepted, why do they still need "Dishwashers and Cooks" as played by Earl Holliman. Robby the Robot has always intrigued audiences, so much so he returns from time to time in other shows. Alright, so the film is a bit mushy, but the mysterious portions of invisible monsters make up for it. Excellent film and a true classic. ****
Based loosely on Shakespeare's The Tempest, this has rightly become something of a cult classic sci-fi movie. The score (electronic music) and special effects are both way ahead of their time and suspension of disbelief is readily achieved from a cast that includes Walter Pidgeon as the scientist who discovers the remains of a lost advanced civilisation on a faraway planet. He also discovers a terrifying secret that threatens anyone who lands on the planet. If you keep in mind that this film is over 50 years old it's a remarkable achievement and a most enjoyable 90 minutes. Aldous Huxley used a quote from the play to title what was to become perhaps his most famous novel but this film, too, is an apt warning of the pitfalls of uncontrolled scientific advance. Perhaps its warning is as apt today as it was in 1956.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Still viewable and viable after fifty years! As a young lad of twelve
and budding sci-fi fan, I first saw this film with awe and admiration
when it was first released.
Well, the awe is gone but the admiration still remains: for the imaginative story, the special effects (many of which others copied slavishly thereafter), and the pleasure of seeing, once again, the antics of Robby the Robot (and in the movie that introduced him to the world). Special mention, also, must be made of the quirky electronic music, the first of its kind in any feature film.
The dialog, of course, is dated, as you might expect, especially regarding nuclear and electronic terminology; but, that's not a real hindrance. It just implicitly reminds you how much has changed technologically since 1956.
The basic story is as follows: a Federation crew arrives at Altair IV to find any survivors of an expedition sent there twenty years previously. Finding only the eccentric Dr Morbius (the venerable Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter, Altaira (Anne Francis), the captain of the starship, John Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and his officers set out to find out why the two have survived all this time while the rest of the expedition died violently from some malignant presence on the planet. So, when the crew of the starship begins to die in the same manner (being torn apart, limb from limb), the good captain naturally begins to suspect the erratic doctor.
It's a simple story, but well acted and well produced, given the limitations of film technology at that time.
A few scenes are truly noteworthy: as the starship comes out of light speed on its approach to Altaira, all of the crew stand in individual shimmering light beams, much like Star Trek's "beam me up" shots, attesting to the influence upon that TV show; whenever there is an exterior shot of the starship in space, there is no sound (except for the quirky music) and no sign of rocket flames --- see, they do get some things technically correct, way back then; the "blaster" guns used by the crew perform in much the same way as those we all saw later in Star Trek; and, finally, remember Ripley in Alien (1979) when she primes the nuclear reactors to explode on the Nostromo? She pushes in the plungers to set the process in motion. Well, that's just what Morbius does also when he has to destroy the planet! There is comedic relief in the form of Earl Holliman's (playing the ship's cook, if you can accept that) rapport with Robby and his need for "cooking" liquor. There's the inevitable love interest between Captain Adams and Altaira. And, there's the great dialog from Robby, full of delicious irony.
Fifty years on, I still enjoyed watching it. I feel sure you will also.
This movie might be from the fifty's, but the special effects don't look like it. No they don't look like CGI effects from today, but they are still eye catching. The acting is not bad either. The movie stars the screen legend Walter Pigion, and up coming star Leslie Nealson, and Robby The Robot. Though this is not a movie with a lot of explosions and fast action, but the drama is very suspenseful that keeps you guessing on just what is this monster. It is a classic for all time, and all ages. A movie you will want to see again and again. The new DVD with the remastering of the movie and sound make this classic even better than when it first came out.
The impact and influence of this colorful, often breathtaking adventure
in the future of space cannot be underestimated. A fairly straight line
can be drawn from this to the TV pilot produced several years later for
the new Star Trek series - "The Cage." Whether the "Star Trek" or "Star
Wars" of its day, "Forbidden Planet" stands head and shoulders above
most of the sf efforts of the fifties. Only a few are on par - "The Day
the Earth Stood Still" and perhaps the original "War of the Worlds"
from '53. But this film has scope; its storyline encompasses nothing
less than the breath of the universe (or, at least our galaxy), and the
entire history and potential future of all mankind. That potential, in
a deep concept for a sf movie, contains elements of foreboding by the
end of this picture. Though completely serious in its approach, it
didn't step over a line into pretentiousness, as witness the banter
among the crew and the silly interplay between the cook and the robot
(perhaps the weaker parts of the picture).
Like the panorama of its unofficial stepchild, "Star Trek," the future of mankind as presented here is a bright, optimistic one. It's set roughly 200 years in our future, at a time when it is we, not some aliens, who zip around the galaxy in flying saucers. We are well organized in this future, intelligent, perhaps not as awed by the thought of God, but striving for decency regardless. All of this is represented by the top notch crew of the space cruiser - all male and rigorously trained, in snappy uniforms and possessed of high-tech weaponry. We're decent and peaceful-leaning, but we don't hesitate to defend ourselves when tested - this is an ideal of fifties stoic old-fashioned Americana. There's the central trio of top officers - the commander, the first officer and a doctor - sound familiar? Of course, they're all 3 human - no Vulcans yet in this crowd. There's even an engineer who is expected to work miracles with the material at hand. The story shifts into a rough version of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' with the introduction of 3 other characters during this space crew's latest mission to a barren yet wondrous planet: an elder scientist, his young lovely daughter and the scientist's impressive robot, which he apparently tinkered together about 20 years ago.
But there are secrets on this planet, dark and deadly, and most of them stem from this anti-social yet seemingly harmless recluse of a scientist (Pidgeon). When he chooses to divulge information to his visitors (and then you can't shut him up), the film's scenes take on the aura of a fantastic travelogue in space, on a mysterious, beguiling planet. He begins with the events of the last few years and the various gadgets at his disposal - even at this early point, the stuff is fascinating, a free view of futuristic life for us to be dazzled by. But later he gets into the ancient secrets of the Krell, an extinct race which reached levels of advancement far beyond what we future humans have here. Marvel upon marvel is unveiled to the visitors and we, the audience, just lap it all up along with them. But with all his talk, the biggest secret is not forthcoming from him; there's only a hint, when he reveals his IQ had been doubled years earlier by accident.
Of course, even a mind-blowing travelogue would not add up to a great movie, so the suspense and action are abetted by a sinister, awesome monster, stalking our heroic space crew and finally attacking in an inspiring, sensational sequence. And it all makes sense in the end. This isn't some arbitrary threat, some creepy alien monster created just to provide extra thrills for the sake of thrills. It's really gratifying to have an intelligent design crafted to the script which explains all the mystery and the monstrous entity by the conclusion. It makes me wish we could have seen more adventures of commander Adams (a very early role for Nielsen, durable & reliable here), his crew and the great Robby the Robot. And, filmmakers may want to gaze on this old precursor of "Star Trek" to find out where that franchise went into disarray back in the nineties.
I saw this when it first came out; I was 12 or 13 at the time. Needless to say, I was mesmerized. I watched it again last night, and while some of the sets and special effects are primitive by today's standards, the movie holds up well. A bit preachy, especially at the end, but fun to watch and nicely constructed. (Speaking of nicely constructed, Ann Francis certainly is a treat to watch!) I can't go along with those who call this "the greatest s-f movie ever," but it's a standout for its era. It's right up there with "War of the Worlds" and "When Worlds Collide" -- two other '50s s-f films produced in color -- and ranks in the all-time top 20 of the genre.
Director:Fred Wilcox, Script:CyrilHume, Staring:Walter Pigeon, Anne
Forbidden Planet is one of the highlights of the golden age of sci-fi from the period between 1950 and 1962. It is considered to be the first film to have an electronic music score. It was filmed in colour in cinemascope that was popular in the 1950's and is to the 1950's what Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey was to the 1960's and Lucas's star wars was to the 1970's. If you like the star wars movies, give this a try. I see many influence's. Roby, the robot is like the robot on Irwin Allen's lost in space or even c3po in Star Wars.It also deals with a "greater force" like Star Wars. Watch this and see how the special effects have changed in 50 years! This movie was very impressive for its time. Walter Pigeon is great as Dr. Morbius as well as his beautiful daughter Altaira played by Anne Francis. This also features an early performance by Leslie Nielsen. The first pc the "Altair" got its name from this film.
Wow. There have been a lot of reviews for this old movie. That says a
lot in itself.
I just saw this movie for the first time several days ago. I picked up a used DVD of it for $3. Glad I did as I really like it.
I expected something totally corny as the cover of the DVD has a robot carrying off a scantily-clad woman like some comic book drivel. So, imagine my surprise when there was actually a decent plot and some rather good acting. The weird audio score impressed me too. It added a novel atmosphere to the whole production. Effects were impressive for way back in the 50s too. The invisible monster had me tense which a lot of newer movies can't come close to doing.
The only thing that seemed a little bogus was Anne Francis being so naive concerning men. She sure was a looker though.
That robot is way cool. I've seen it in some other movies too. I really need one of those around the house eh.
Now some people might find this movie a little slow in places. But, it has such a good story compared to other movies of that era that it's only a minor flaw. Lovers of pure sci-fi will eat this one up.
This is a movie I'll be able to watch many times, which is saying a lot for me. Anyone who cares a whit for sci-fi ought to check this one out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Because of some clunky dialog (but not much) I can't give FORBIDDEN
PLANET the "10" I want to give it. But aside from that, it demonstrates
what science fiction films could have been like in the 1930s to 1950s
if the major studios had given them serious productions. With a good
cast headed by Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielson, Warren Stevens, Anne
Francis, Jack Kelly, and Earl Holiman, it is an update (but not a
perfect one) of Shakespeare's final great play, THE TEMPEST, set in
outer space. More of that point later,
The sets, given earlier examples (compare with say the typical "mad scientist" sets at Universal in the 1930s), are rather good looking. Doorways show to us what the long dead "Krell" race was supposed to look like. When a scientific marvel of these dead geniuses is shown by Dr. Morbius (Pidgeon) to Commander John Adams (Nielsen) and Lt. "Doc" Ostrow (Kelly) it's size (20 miles of machine on either side of the center, harnessing the energy of the planet) is really plausible. The robot "Robbie" is a little dated after R-2D-2 and C3PO in STAR WARS, but that had 1970 style concepts in mind. I assure you, if you see a science fiction film of 2107 they would make STAR WARS seem dated in the style of appearance of things. One also has to congratulate the imaginative way the film shows the real danger the crew faces when they finally see it.
Care was given to this production, which is really not so much Shakespeare as a moral and ethics lesson about pride, arrogance, and Greek hubris. THE TEMPEST did have a similar situation, with Prospero (the original for Morbius) and his daughter Miranda (Altaira - Francis' role here) living on an island that Morbius has turned into his kingdom through magic. But it's a stretch to make Robbie a clone of Shakespeare's Ariel, and there is no character to match Caliban, the actual heir of the island who is now Prospero's slave. Moreover, Prospero wants to return to his rightful place in Europe as Duke of Milan (in the play his position was usurped by his brother, now shipwrecked on the island with others). Morbius likes existing on the planet with his daughter, untouched by other humans, and studying Krell wisdom and science. It's not a perfect match by any means*.
(*Oddly enough, Shakespeare's play was inspired by a situation similar to Nielsen's crew exploring space. A fleet of ships headed for the new colony of Jamestown (in Virginia) was partly wrecked in the Bahamas. The ship, with the new governor, had to be repaired, and finally arrived in Jamestown months later, after everyone thought the crew and passengers were lost.)
FORBIDDEN PLANET is about how a great civilization can have rot at it's center by arrogance and cruelty. It is an ethics lesson we constantly have to watch out for, as Nielsen, Francis, Stevens and Pidgeon (the last two too late) realize, due to the unfortunate baser feelings of human beings. As such it is far more important than just a well made "what wonders the future show us" science fiction film. It becomes a worthy film classic to watch again and again.
"Forbidden Planet" is a sci-fi film from the '50s, which also brought
you "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and other great films of the genre.
A couple of things set me apart from the rest of the reviewers. First
of all, I'm not a particular fan of science fiction and secondly, I
don't have a problem watching Leslie Nielsen in a straight role - I
grew up with him being serious! This is a very entertaining film on
many levels, not the least of which is its cast of up and coming TV
stars - Nielsen, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, and Anne
Francis. Walter Pigeon plays the mysterious Dr. Morbius. And let's not
forget the sonorous voice of Marvin Miller as Robbie the Robot -
Michael Anthony of "The Millionaire"! This movie is fantastic for baby
boomers. Robbie, by the way, gives a great performance and has some of
the best lines in the movie.
Pre-Star Wars movies are always to be admired for their special effects - before computers really took over. The effects in "Forbidden Planet" are tremendous and it's a neat story, too, about a spaceship that lands on a planet inhabited by only two people and a robot. They learn that all of the members of a previous expedition were killed by an unknown entity, to which Dr. Marbius and his daughter seem to be immune.
This is a very talky movie, as in those days, scripts were wordier. Nevertheless, it is highly entertaining. One of the most interesting things in the movie is the "music" - all done with electronic instruments. It really adds to the other-wordly atmosphere and suspense. And don't we wish we all had a Robbie!
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